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Brookline eases changes to controversial new borderline policy

Posted by Brock Parker  February 3, 2014 11:58 AM

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Brookline school officials have approved drastic changes to a controversial proposal that would have excluded a number of homes straddling the town line from the public school district.

The Brookline School Committee approved a new policy last Thursday, Jan. 30, that will require that at least 25 percent of a dwelling be in Brookline to qualify as part of the town’s school district. But the new policy will grandfather all single family dwelling units purchased on or before the new policy was approved, said Rebecca Stone, who led the effort to revamp the town’s eligibility standards for properties on the town line.

Brookline had been considering a new policy that would have excluded homes on the Brookline borders with Boston and Newton at more than 30 different addresses from remaining in the school district if the homes were sold and the town did not assess property taxes on at least 50 percent of the property. The proposal drew a backlash from a number of homeowners who said the policy would decrease the values of their homes.

Stone said under the revised policy that has been approved, homes purchased before the policy change will still be considered part of the school district when they are sold unless they are developed in a way that more than a single family lives in the dwelling.

The school committee studied the changes to the borderline dwellings because of overcrowding in the schools, and Stone said the adopted change addresses the school committee’s goal of preventing increases in enrollment from the properties.

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